What a humbling night last night. “Dr.” Leo Dungan, David Faith, and I pulled the 11-3 shift at the Yorkship Shelter. I was overwhelmed.
Watching, listening to, Ms. Wawa care for these lives that are arriving at her “doorstep” I was struck by the dignity with which she treats each one. These are children of God, made in His own image – just like me. In some sense it is “duty” to that God, our Maker, that drives us to care for “the least of these brothers and sisters of Jesus” – even if all we can do is provide food and a night’s sleep out of the cold. But, there was no evidence of “duty” in what I witnessed last night. All that is being done in that place, for those precious souls, is love-wrought service to those in need.
I was struck again with the devastating brokenness of our world. Sin has found its way into every corner and crevice of our world — it is in the air we breathe. There is not one of us who is not just a few bad decisions away from finding ourselves on a gym floor in an old school building. Not one person sleeping on that floor was there because this was where they were hoping life would lead them. Our choices, our decisions, good and bad, are never made in a vacuum. Rather myriad factors weigh in on each decisive moment in our lives. Lying on that floor last night, but for the grace of God, I saw myself. I see myself.
But then I came home. By 3:40 I was climbing into my bed, lying on a mattress with a 4 inch foam topper, clean sheets, my favorite pillow, under covers that had been warmed by my beautiful wife. And I thought, “When was the last time I said thank you for this? How blessed am I, how good is God to me, that I can take this, all of this, for granted? Why have I found such favor?” I got up at 10:30. I made breakfast in my beautiful kitchen. I still don’t have an answer to my questions. Not sure I ever will. But I do know this. The degree to which I believe that I am where I am — while James shivers through the throws of withdrawal on a gym floor in Camden — is somehow due to my good decisions, my effort, my skill, wisdom, intelligence, upbringing, yada, yada, is the degree to which I deny the grace of God that has intervened in every single moment of my life.
I pray that I never forget to remember this.